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Solihull
Solihull
(/ˈsɒlɪhʌl/ or /ˈsoʊliːhʌl/ or /soʊliˈhʌl/) is a large town in the West Midlands of England
England
with a population of 206,700 in the 2011 Census.[1] Historically in Warwickshire, it is a part of the West Midlands conurbation. It is the largest town in, and administrative centre of, the larger Metropolitan Borough of Solihull, which itself has a population of 209,890. Solihull
Solihull
is the most affluent town of the West Midlands, and one of the most affluent areas in the UK outside London.[2] In November 2013, the uSwitch Quality of Life Index named Solihull
Solihull
the "best place to live" in the United Kingdom.[3][4] Residents of Solihull
Solihull
and those born in the town are referred to as Silhillians. The motto of Solihull is Urbs in Rure (Town in Country).

Contents

1 History

1.1 Toponymy 1.2 Early history 1.3 20th century

2 Governance

2.1 Wards

3 Education 4 Transport 5 Economy 6 Communal facilities

6.1 Parks and local nature reserves 6.2 Leisure 6.3 Events

7 Sport 8 Suburbs 9 Twin towns 10 Notable people 11 References 12 External links

History[edit] Toponymy[edit] Solihull's name is commonly thought to have derived from the position of its parish church, St Alphege, on a 'soily' hill.[5] The church was built on a hill of stiff red marl, which turned to sticky mud in wet weather. Early history[edit] The town is noted for its historic architecture, which includes surviving examples of timber framed Tudor style houses and shops. The historic Solihull School
Solihull School
dates from 1560 (although not on its present site). The red sandstone parish church of St. Alphege
Alphege
dates from a similar period and is a large and handsome example of English Gothic church architecture, with a traditional spire 168 feet (51 metres) high, making it visible from a great distance. It is located at the head of High Street and is a Grade I listed building.[6] It was founded in about 1220 by Hugh de Oddingsell. A chantry chapel was also founded there by Sir William de Oddingsell in 1277 and the upper chapel in St Alphege
Alphege
was built for a chantry. 20th century[edit]

St. Alphege's Church, Solihull

Unlike nearby Birmingham, the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
largely passed Solihull
Solihull
by and until the 20th century Solihull
Solihull
remained a small market town. World War II
World War II
also nearly passed Solihull
Solihull
by. Neighbouring Coventry
Coventry
and Birmingham
Birmingham
were severely damaged by repeated German bombing raids but apart from some attacks on what is now the Land Rover plant, the airport and the local railway lines, Solihull
Solihull
escaped largely intact.[citation needed] In 1901, the population of the town was just 7,500.[citation needed] This growth was due to a number of factors including a large slum clearance programme in Birmingham, the development of the Rover car plant, the expansion of what was then Elmdon Airport
Elmdon Airport
into Birmingham International Airport and, perhaps most significantly, the release of large tracts of land for housing development attracting inward migration of new residents from across the UK.

St. Augustine's Church (Roman Catholic)

Until the early 1960s, the main high street remained much as it would have been in the late 19th century with several streets of Victorian terraced houses linking High Street with Warwick Road. The construction of the central shopping area known as Mell Square (named after W. Maurice Mell, the town clerk who planned the work) involved the demolition of properties in Mill Lane and Drury Lane, some of which were several hundred years old, together with that of the large Victorian Congregational Church
Congregational Church
that had stood on the corner of Union Street and Warwick Road. On the right along High Street from St Alphege's Church porch is one of the town's oldest landmarks, The George, which dates from the 16th century. It is now called the Ramada Jarvis Hotel. Arden Golf Club, Solihull, (now defunct) was founded in 1891. The course was still appearing on maps into the 1930s.[7] Governance[edit] Due to its growth, Solihull
Solihull
was promoted from an urban district to a municipal borough, the honour being bestowed by Princess Margaret.[8] In 1964, Solihull
Solihull
became a county borough and on this occasion the Queen bestowed the honour. In 1974, the Solihull
Solihull
county borough was merged with the rural district surrounding Meriden to form the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull. This also includes the districts known as Shirley, Knowle, Dorridge, Balsall Common, Castle Bromwich and Chelmsley Wood. The member of parliament for the Solihull
Solihull
constituency is Conservative Julian Knight, who won his seat in 2015. Wards[edit] There are 17 wards in Solihull;[9] Olton, Knowle, Dorridge, Silhill, Blythe, Meriden, Elmdon, Lyndon, Smith's Wood, Chelmsley Wood, Hockley Heath, St. Alphege, Shirley West, Shirley East, Shirley South, Kingshurst
Kingshurst
& Fordbridge, Castle Bromwich
Castle Bromwich
and Bickenhill.[10] Each ward is represented by three councillors at Solihull
Solihull
Metropolitan Borough Council, making a total of 51 councillors.[9] The mayor is elected by the Council and is currently (2017–18) Stuart Davis of the Conservative Party. Education[edit] See also: List of schools in Solihull Solihull
Solihull
has no university, but there are five universities within 16 mi (26 km) of the town; three in Birmingham
Birmingham
and two in Coventry. However, Solihull
Solihull
College, formerly known as the Solihull College of Technology, incorporates a University Centre which offers several foundation degree and full degree courses, particularly in technical subject areas such as computer sciences and engineering. As yet it has not applied to attain university college or university status. There is also a sixth form college located on the outskirts of the town centre. This is known as the Sixth Form College, Solihull. Solihull School
Solihull School
is an independent school and is located on Warwick Road near the centre of the town. It was founded in 1560 and celebrated its 450th anniversary in 2010. Solihull
Solihull
had a 'Wave 1' proposal of the Building Schools for the Future investment programme approved. They were awarded over £80 million to transform six schools in the north of the borough in December 2004. As a result of the funding, there will be six new schools constructed within seven years. The school curriculum will be redesigned as well as a further £6 million investment in managed ICT services. The six schools to be rebuilt are Park
Park
Hall, Smith's Wood, Archbishop Grimshaw, Lanchester Special
Special
School and Forest Oak and Merstone special schools. Forest Oak and Merstone have been already rebuilt on one site. Lanchester, Park
Park
Hall and Smith's Wood
Smith's Wood
have been built by BAM PPP, under 'Private Finance Initiative'. Archbishop Grimshaw has been built by BAM PPP under a traditional contract.[11] Transport[edit]

The Manor House, Solihull

Solihull
Solihull
railway station

A number of main roads pass through Solihull
Solihull
including the A41 Birmingham
Birmingham
to Warwick road and the A34 Birmingham
Birmingham
to Stratford road. The M42 and the M40 both pass through Solihull
Solihull
and provide very rapid links to Oxford
Oxford
and London
London
and to the rest of the motorway network surrounding the West Midlands. Birmingham
Birmingham
Airport is located in Solihull. Solihull railway station
Solihull railway station
is on the former Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
line from Birmingham
Birmingham
Snow Hill station to London
London
Paddington although trains now run along the Chiltern Main Line terminating at London
London
Marylebone. Solihull railway station
Solihull railway station
was first built on a very grand scale, with 2 island platforms complete with nearly full length canopies, and a large goods yard, boasting space for some 200+ waggons; the yard was equipped with a loading dock, goods shed and large crane. Solihull
Solihull
was also rare in being only one of a handful of stations in the area to have a goods relief line.[citation needed] Other railway links are provided on the West Coast Main Line, as Birmingham
Birmingham
International railway station lies within the borough's boundaries and offers frequent express connections to London. Express train services through Solihull
Solihull
are now run by Chiltern Railways
Chiltern Railways
and local services by London
London
Midland. The Grand Union Canal
Grand Union Canal
passes across Solihull, coming within 1 mi (1.6 km) of the town centre and linking the town to the River Thames in London. Local bus services are provided largely by National Express West Midlands from their Yardley Wood
Yardley Wood
and Acocks Green
Acocks Green
depots in south and southeast Birmingham
Birmingham
respectively. Economy[edit] Solihull
Solihull
offers a variety of shopping facilities. It has an open-air 1960s-style shopping centre called Mell Square which was constructed following the demolition of several terraces of Victorian houses and the original Solihull
Solihull
Congregational Church. In recent years, the town has undergone much development, and High Street has been pedestrianised since 1994. On 2 July 2002, a large new shopping centre, Touchwood, was opened by the Queen. Solihull
Solihull
is the home of the four-wheel-drive car manufacturer Land Rover's main production plant (situated east of the Lode Heath district) and a range of other major companies. The village of Meriden was the famous home of the Triumph motorbike factory from 1942-1983. The former home of retail bakers Three Cooks, after it was brought out of administration in 2006, the new company Cooks the Bakery retains its HQ in Solihull. Other major companies headquartered in Solihull include pub company Enterprise Inns
Enterprise Inns
and mortgage and personal loan provider Paragon. The National Exhibition Centre
National Exhibition Centre
is within the borough of Solihull, as is almost all of Birmingham
Birmingham
Airport and the ever-expanding Birmingham Business Park. Communal facilities[edit] Parks and local nature reserves[edit]

The Lake, Brueton Park, Solihull

Solihull
Solihull
has a number of parks and local nature reserves, including for:

Alcott Wood in Moorend Avenue, Chelmsley Wood; 5.7 hectares (14 acres) of semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 2002.[12] Babbs Mill in Fordbridge
Fordbridge
Road, Kingshurst; 24 hectares (59 acres) of mixed grassland, lake and woodland habitats, designated in 2000.[12] Bills Wood, in Bill's Lane, Shirley; 7 hectares (17 acres) of semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 1991.[12] Dorridge
Dorridge
Wood, in Arden Road, Dorridge; 7.5 hectares (19 acres) of semi natural woodland, designated in 2000.[12] Elmdon Park, at Elmdon Manor, Solihull; 4.6 hectares (11 acres) of former walled garden, managed by Warwickshire
Warwickshire
Wildlife Trust, designated in 1995.[12] Jobs Close in Longdon Road, Knowle; 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres) of grassland and woodland with pond, designated in 2004.[12] Palmers Rough, in Jacey Road, Shirley; 6.5 hectares (16 acres) of semi natural woodland, designated in 2000.[12] Malvern & Brueton Park
Park
in Old Warwick Road, Solihull; 30 hectares (74 acres) of mixed grassland, woodland and marsh, designated in 2002.[12] Millisons Wood, in Albert Road, Meriden; 11 hectares (27 acres) of semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 1993.[12] Smiths Wood in Windward Way, Smiths Wood; 4.5 hectares (11 acres) of semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 2004.[12] Yorks Wood, in Fordbridge
Fordbridge
Road, Kingshurst; 10 hectares (25 acres) of semi natural ancient woodland, designated in 1991.[12]

Other parks include Tudor Grange Park, Elmdon Park, Hillfield Park, Cole Bank Park, Knowle Park
Park
and Shirley Park. The nearest parks to the town centre are Malvern and Brueton Parks. They are interlinked and cover a total area of about 130 acres (0.53 km2). Brueton Park used to be part of the grounds of Malvern Hall, which dates back to about 1690. It is home now to St Martin's Independent School for Girls. Solihull
Solihull
also has the UK's first dedicated hedgehog conservation area.[13] The River Blythe, a headwater tributary of the River Trent, passes through parts of Solihull
Solihull
including Malvern and Tudor Grange Parks. Leisure[edit] Solihull
Solihull
has numerous leisure facilities including a public swimming pool on the edge of Tudor Grange Park. This pool replaced the old Tudor Grange Sports Centre, which was demolished in 2007, to make way for the brand new leisure centre (A combination of the old Norman Green Athletics Centre and Tudor Grange Sports Centre). This in turn had replaced the outdoor swimming pool – Malvern Park
Park
Lido – that had served Solihull
Solihull
from 1954 till its closure in 1982.[14] At present there are two sports centres, the more modern Tudor Grange Sports Centre, and the older North Solihull
Solihull
Sports Centre. There is also an outdoor wooden skateboarding and in-line skating facility in Tudor Grange Park. Sailing takes place on Olton
Olton
Reservoir. The borough is well served by numerous youth groups, both from the statutory and voluntary sector. There are several Scout groups including Knowle Sea Scout Group which is based in the south of Solihull
Solihull
and is sponsored by the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
providing a wide programme of activities for young people from all over Solihull
Solihull
aged from 6 to 18. The recently refurbished ice rink on Hobs Moat Road is home to Solihull's ice hockey teams, the Solihull
Solihull
Barons, Solihull
Solihull
Vikings, a junior ice hockey team, the Mohawks ice racing club, as well as ice dance and figure skating clubs. Above the ice rink is a Riley's snooker club. Events[edit] Every year since the early 1930s (apart from gaps during world wars), Solihull
Solihull
Carnival has taken place. This is now fixed to the first weekend after the June half-term and takes place in Tudor Grange Park, organised by Shirley Round Table. The event raises about £10,000 for charitable causes each year.[citation needed] Tudor Grange Park
Park
is also the venue for the annual free firework display held on the Saturday closest to 5 November, organised by Solihull
Solihull
Round Table. The event attracts about 15,000 people to the park.[15] Sport[edit] The largest football club in the town is Solihull
Solihull
Moors, who play at Damson Park, 2 miles (3.2 km) from the town centre. The club was established in 2007 following the merger of Solihull
Solihull
Borough and Moor Green and currently play in the National League after being promoted from the National League North
National League North
at the end of the 2015-16 season. Birmingham
Birmingham
& Solihull
Solihull
R.F.C., known as "the Bees", a professional rugby union team which competes in National League 3. The club played at Sharmans Cross Road
Sharmans Cross Road
until August 2010, and following a brief spell at Solihull
Solihull
Moors' Damson Park
Park
ground the club now play at Portway. Solihull
Solihull
Swimming Club is based at Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, Solihull School
Solihull School
and St. Martin’s School. First established in 1963[16], the club now boasts over 600 members and also runs water polo teams. Solihull Barons are the local ice hockey team and play their home games at the Solihull
Solihull
Ice Rink. Solihull
Solihull
also has a number of field hockey clubs, namely Old Silhillians Hockey Club, Olton
Olton
& West Warwickshire
Warwickshire
Hockey Club and Solihull
Solihull
Blossomfield Hockey Club. Gaelic games
Gaelic games
are played by Warwickshire
Warwickshire
GAA who play their home matches in Páirc na hÉireann in Solihull. The town has an indoor bowling area and club. Solihull
Solihull
is also home to Solihull
Solihull
Cycling Club which was founded in 1929. The club has produced National Champions, Olympic Medallists and Tour de France
France
riders[17] Suburbs[edit] For a full list see List of areas in Solihull Solihull
Solihull
town has several suburbs including Olton, Solihull
Solihull
Lodge, Blossomfield, Haslucks Green, Sharmans Cross, Cranmore, Shirley (considered a sub-town of Solihull), Shirley Heath, Hillfield, Monkspath, Widney Manor, Lyndon, Lode Heath and World's End. Solihull
Solihull
Borough includes several satellite towns and villages including Castle Bromwich, Chelmsley Wood, Cheswick Green, Dorridge, Dickens Heath, Knowle, Balsall Common, Meriden, Hampton in Arden, Hockley Heath, Eastcote, Barston, Bickenhill, Catherine-de-Barnes
Catherine-de-Barnes
and Bentley Heath. Twin towns[edit] Solihull
Solihull
is twinned with:

Cholet, France Main-Taunus-Kreis, Germany. Changzhou, China
China
since 2017

Notable people[edit]

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This list includes notable persons who were born or have lived in Solihull.

Barry Austin (b.1968), Britain's fattest man and local celebrity Sir David Baulcombe
David Baulcombe
(b. 1952), Professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge Mark Billingham
Mark Billingham
(b. 1961), novelist, actor and screenwriter Elizabeth Bower (b. 1976), actress, Doctors Karren Brady
Karren Brady
(b. 1969), vice-chairman of West Ham United F.C. Michael Buerk
Michael Buerk
(b. 1946), BBC News
BBC News
reader, born and brought up in Solihull, attending Solihull
Solihull
School John A. Butt (b. 1960), conductor, scholar, keyboardist and Gardiner Chair at the University of Glasgow Daniel Caines (b. 1979), athlete Karen Carney
Karen Carney
(b. 1987), Birmingham, England
England
and Great Britain women's footballer Stephanie Cole
Stephanie Cole
(b. 1941), actress Dominic Coleman (b. 1970), actor Alan Cox
Alan Cox
(b. 1968), a Linux
Linux
kernel engineer Matthew Croucher
Matthew Croucher
(b. 1983), Royal Marine
Royal Marine
George Cross
George Cross
holder Lucy Davis
Lucy Davis
(b. 1973), actress and daughter of comedian Jasper Carrott Gary Delaney
Gary Delaney
(b. 1973), comedian, born in Solihull Nick Drake
Nick Drake
(1948-1974), musician/poet Craig Gardner
Craig Gardner
(b. 1986), Birmingham
Birmingham
City midfielder Shane Geraghty
Shane Geraghty
(b. 1986), England
England
rugby union player, attended St Alphege
Alphege
Junior School in the 1990s Tommy Godwin (1920-2012), cyclist, twice Olympic medallist in 1948 and President of Solihull
Solihull
Cycling Club. Will Grigg
Will Grigg
(b. 1991), English-born Northern Irish professional footballer. Amii Grove (1985), glamour model Richard Hammond
Richard Hammond
(b. 1969), presenter of Top Gear (BBC) Richard Harrison, scientist Dave Hill
Dave Hill
(b. 1946), Slade's guitarist Rupert Hill (b. 1978), Jamie Baldwin in Coronation Street, born and brought up in Solihull David Jennens (1929-2000), Olympic and Cambridge University rower, born in Solihull Martin Johnson (b. 1970), CBE, England
England
rugby union player and captain, born in Shirley Felicity Kendal (b. 1946), actress and TV star Zat Knight
Zat Knight
(b. 1980), professional footballer, mainly with Fulham, Aston Villa
Aston Villa
and Bolton Wanderers, born in Solihull Stewart Lee
Stewart Lee
(b. 1968), stand-up comedian, attended Solihull
Solihull
School Russell Leetch
Russell Leetch
(b. 1982), bass guitarist for Editors Don Maclean (b. 1944), 1970s host of Crackerjack, comedian, broadcaster and personality Clare Maguire
Clare Maguire
(b. 1988), singer-songwriter Tony Martin (b. 1957), singer, songwriter, lead singer of Black Sabbath Simon Mayo
Simon Mayo
(b. 1958), broadcaster, attended Solihull
Solihull
School James McFadden
James McFadden
(b. 1983), Birmingham
Birmingham
City F.C. midfielder/striker Carol McNicoll (b. 1943), designer and potter[18] Margaret Preece, opera singer, born in Solihull[19] Jim Proudfoot (b. 1972), TalkSport football commentator Caroline Redman Lusher
Caroline Redman Lusher
(b. 1974), singer/songwriter, founder and director of Rock Choir Laurence Rees (b. 1957), historian and documentary filmmaker, attended Solihull
Solihull
School Mandy Rice-Davies
Mandy Rice-Davies
(1944-2014), famed for her role in the Profumo Affair, attended Sharmans Cross Junior School in Solihull Malcolm Stent (b. 1945), playwright and entertainer Marc Silk
Marc Silk
(b. 1972), voice actor Nigel John Taylor (b. 1960), bass guitarist in new wave band Duran Duran Andy Townsend
Andy Townsend
(b. 1963), broadcaster and TV pundit, and former Aston Villa, Chelsea and Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
footballer, lives in Solihull Stephen Walters, actor, lives in Solihull. Sally Walton
Sally Walton
(b. 1981), GB Women's Hockey player and 2012 Summer Olympics bronze medalist Madison Welch (b. 1990), glamour model

Musical groups which were formed in or by a member from Solihull include:

Five - a 1990s boy band Ocean Colour Scene
Ocean Colour Scene
- a 1990s rock band Swell Maps - a 1970s alternative rock band Spizzenergi
Spizzenergi
- a 1970s alternative rock band. The Applejacks - a 1960s pop group Gentle Giant
Gentle Giant
- avant-garde 1970s progressive rock band The Maisonettes - a 1980s one hit wonder band

References[edit]

^ "Local Authority population 2011". Retrieved 15 December 2015.  ^ " Solihull
Solihull
is streets ahead in region's property rich list". Retrieved 7 July 2017.  ^ "uSwitch News: Solihull
Solihull
'best place to live' in UK Quality of Life Index". Uswitch.com. Retrieved 14 August 2014.  ^ Heather Saul (14 November 2013). "Ten best places to live in the UK: Solihull
Solihull
comes top". The Independent. London. Retrieved 14 August 2014.  ^ [1] Archived 8 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (218304)". Images of England. Retrieved 19 September 2007.  ^ "Arden Golf Club, Solihull, Wawickshire". Golfsmissinglinks.co.uk. Retrieved 14 August 2014.  ^ "Local History - Charter Day". Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.  ^ a b [2] ^ [3] Archived 19 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine. ^ [4] Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k " Solihull
Solihull
Council Local Nature Reserves". Archived from the original on 30 June 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011.  ^ http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/hedgehogs ^ [5] Archived 20 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Get ready for Solihull's Bonfire Night in Tudor Grange Park". Solihull
Solihull
News. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2012.  ^ " Solihull
Solihull
Swimming Club". www.solihullswimmingclub.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-03-17.  ^ "Club History". Solihull
Solihull
Cycling Club. Retrieved 24 September 2016.  ^ Whiting, David (2009). Modern British Potters and their studios. A&C Black.  ^ " Solihull
Solihull
Arts Complex". solihullartscomplex.co.uk. 

External links[edit]

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